Last season at this time, Oregon State coach Mike Riley was focusing on choosing a starting quarterback. That's the least of his concerns as he heads into fall camp this year.
Sean Mannion won the starter's job over Cody Vaz last fall and went on to throw for a Pac-12 single-season record 4,662 yards and a school-record 37 touchdown passes. The Beavers finished 7-6, capping off the year with a 38-23 victory over Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl.
Mannion decided to return for his senior season, solidifying that position for the Beavers. Luke Del Rio, Brent VanderVeen and Kyle Kempt will compete as his backup during camp, which opens for Oregon State on Monday.
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday afternoon to preview camp, Riley said his chief concerns were Oregon State's offensive line and the cornerback position.
The line loses three starters from last season, Grant Enger, Josh Andrews and Michael Phillip.
Center Isaac Seumalo, who will likely shift positions this season, is still recovering from a broken foot he sustained during the Hawaii Bowl. It is not known if he will be able to come back in time for the Beavers' opener at home against Portland State on Aug. 30.
Fellow lineman Josh Mitchell was coming off of shoulder surgery and Grant Bays has had back issues that slowed him during spring practice.
A solid offensive line is key not only to Mannion's protection but also to Oregon State's running game, which struggled last season before showing some spark in the Civil War against Oregon and in the victory over the Broncos. The Beavers bring back Terron Ward and Storm Woods, who combined for 998 yards and 11 touchdowns last year.
"We're going to have to continue to formulate that line through camp and solidify it," Riley said. "If we can get everyone healthy and working well together that will certainly be a good sign for our running attack."
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